First ESPN brought us the "K Zone," revolutionizing the televised baseball experience by making umps accountable for their calls. And now the good
people at the Fox Network have given us a grounds-eye view of the game from the infield grass. They call it "Diamond Cam," but it looks more like
"Rodent Vision" to me. Not since the glory days of Caddyshack
have we seen such sparkling perspectives of life at ground level...
I don't want to name names, but a certain Fox Sports "color analyst" has a "dim wit." In a related story, veteran announcer Tim McCarver referred to
BoSox centerfielder Johnny Damon as "not a patient hitter" during game four of the American League Championship Series. And like Grady Little before
him, McCarver was dead wrong. Sure, Damon has been over-anxious and generally off-kilter at the plate in the ALCS. His sub-.100 batting average can
speak to that. But that doesn't change the fact that Damon's performance has been blatantly out of character. Let's take a look at the numbers,
because unlike McCarver, they never misinform. During the regular season, Damon's 4.12 pitches per plate appearance ranked fifth in the American
League. On top of that, he walked 76 times with an impressive .380 OBP. This leads me to believe that McCarver must be judging Johnny on the past four
games alone. Either that, or he's a liar. What next? Will Timmy tell the world that Johnny isn't a lefty? Or that he doesn't look like a caveman? For
the love of God, McCarver, do your homework. Because Johnny Damon isn't just not "not a patient hitter" - he's one of the most patient hitters in
Major League baseball...
In the game of baseball, a gap hitter's performance is most aptly quantified in terms of doubles production. In other words, a true gap hitter hits a
lot of doubles. Take Boston shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who's averaged more than 42 doubles and just twelve homeruns over the past four seasons. He is,
by definition, the quintessential gap hitter. So why McCarver would describe Cabrera as "not a gap hitter," I guess I'll never know...
Tim McCarver might be a yes man, but he was never a YES man. From 1999-2001, McCarver covered Yankee games for the local Fox affiliate, not the YES
Network. Three years after his break-up with the Bombers, it seems McCarver still has a "soft spot" for the Captain. "Derek Jeter is the owner of the
calmest eyes in baseball," beamed McCarver during a recent ALCS telecast. Sounds to me like a classic case of admiration bordering on affection.
Clearly, Jeter's electric play isn't the only thing exciting McCarver these days...
With an AL-leading 43 homers in 2004, Boston's Manny Ramirez completed the career triple crown. (The BoSox slugger won the 2002 batting title and led
the AL in RBI in 1999 as a member of the Indians.) Since the great Henry Aaron did the trick in 1957, only six players - Manny included - have
achieved the career triple crown in either league. Their names? Barry Bonds (2002), Alex Rodriguez (2002), Andres Galarraga, (1996), Carl Yastrzemski
(1967) and Frank Robinson (1966). With company like that, Manny has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest hitters in the past forty years...
When a hitter "takes all the way" on a 3-0 count, he's looking for a ball. He's not going to swing, and the pitcher knows it. So for the love of
productivity if not gamesmanship itself, shouldn't the "takers" lose the casual air and dip deep down into an exaggerated crouch? Because if they're
taking all the way, they may as well minimize the strike zone while they're at it...